Mother and boyfriend arrested after 4-month-old baby dies in Richland County

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Two people have been arrested after the death of a 4-month-old child.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release that it has charged Philip Coker, 34, with murder by child abuse and Cassandra Clautu, 27, with unlawful conduct towards a child. Both had been held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center since Thursday morning, according to prison records.

The sheriff said Clautu was the child’s mother and Coker was her boyfriend.

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Deputies responded at a local hospital on September 6 after learning that a 4-month-old baby had been taken to hospital and had become unresponsive. According to the sheriff, officers saw bruises on the baby’s arms, back, legs and ears.

The child died on September 8, the department said in the release. An autopsy reportedly showed the baby had “an acute rib fracture, severe brain and eye haemorrhage, and multiple bruises all over the body,” the sheriff said.

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The department said Clautu told deputies that Coker had been monitoring the child. Coker claimed he woke up to find the baby unresponsive and called EMS, deputies said.

“During the investigation, it was discovered that the baby had also been injured in an incident days earlier,” the sheriff’s release said. “Clautu was not seeking medical treatment for the baby at the time.”

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